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HomeBuildHow To Make A Patio Using Stepping Stones

How To Make A Patio Using Stepping Stones

How To Ensure The Success Of A Diy Paver Patio Project 30 Inspirational Ideas

The patio is not something you replace or even repair often in most cases. It’s usually a sturdy and durable structure that, once built, can last for many years to come. You still have to tend to it every once in a while, but that’s just maintenance.

The hard part is removing and replacing a paver patio or basically any other type of patio for that matter, but even this task can be successfully completed by just about anyone that is given a proper tutorial with detailed instructions and, of course, the right tools and materials. Check out these tips to make your DIY paver patio project a success!

Remove The Gravel Where The Slabs Are To Be Laid And Compact The Area Down

The first two stepping stones we lay are at either end of the area we are going to pave. We lay the two stepping-stones on the outside first so we can fix a string line between the two points. This then allows us to level the remaining slabs in-between the slabs on the gravel.

We need to remove the gravel from the area we are going to lay our slabs. Save the gravel to replace around the paving slabs once they have been laid. You can remove all the gravel if you wish. It is sometimes beneficial if you do. But for this job we took the easier option of just removing the gravel where the stepping stones were going to be laid.

When the gravel as been removed we then need to compact the area to stop the area from sinking. You could use a metal tamper as we have done here or you could firm down with your feet, a hammer and piece of flat wood or any other method you see fit. You need to be confident the ground below the slab has a solid and firm foundation.

Place Mortar Mix On Cleared Gravel Area Then Level Out With Trowel

Once you have cleared the gravel and firmed the surface you need to place a shovel full of mortar mix onto the cleared area.

We have used a wet mortar mix of 5 parts of building sand mixed with 1 x cement. You can use other kinds of sand such as grit or sharp sand. You could use a post mix concrete mix. That is, a mix of sand and cement that is ready-mixed in a bag. This is ideal if you are unsure about mixing sand and cement.

Level out the cement mix evenly with a cement trowel to give a full bed of mortar. This needs to cover the whole area of where the stepping stone will sit. Place the slab gently onto the mix.

You can read how to make the mortar mix for the laying of stepping stones at the bottom of this page

Point Mortar Up The Side And Around The Sides Of The Stepping

After leveling the paving slab you then need to push mortar into any gaps underneath the slab. This ensures that there is mortar underneath the whole flag. This will help stabilize the flag and stop the possibility of it rocking on its base. This also gives it extra strength.

Then build up the mortar against the sides of the slabs to help create a small buttress of mortar up the side of the slab. Try not to go above 3/4 of the way up the slab. This will help secure your slab in place and stop it sliding off the mortar bed.

Keep an eye on the level of your slab as you work by periodically placing your spirit level on the surface. You may need to re-tap the surface of the slab after pushing mortar into gaps or up the side of the stepping stone to re-level.

Make The Most Of A Small Space By Planning Your Paver Patio

How to Build A Paver Patio

Even a small patio can take a lot of time to plan and then to build. Naturally, the cost of the project varies depending on all sorts of things, like the materials involved, the tools required, the overall proportions of the patio, etc. You’re already saving quite a bit by taking care of this project yourself so that’s a big plus right there. To make the project even more cost-efficient, stick with a simple design and avoid complicating things more than necessary. The project featured on diychatroom is a good example in this sense.

Build A Patio Like A Pro So It Will Last For Years To Come

It’s important to be prepared for all the hard work and effort required to build a paver patio but to not allow it to overwhelm you. If you follow all the steps and do everything right, this can be a very satisfying project, and what better time to do it than now? With that in mind, we think you’re really going to enjoy this tutorial on youtube which explains everything you need to know to be able to install pavers like a pro so you can build a patio that will last for years to come.

Apply Pva Glue To The Reverse Of The Stepping Stone Slabs

First we apply PVA glue to the back of our slabs. Then, if possible, allow the PVA glue to dry or become tacky.

We apply the glue because PVA works by sticking the underneath of the slab to the cement mortar we are going to lay our stepping upon.

This then creates a bond between the mortar and slab. This stops the paving slab from becoming loose or sliding off the cement bed once dried.

How To Lay Stepping Stones On Gravel In 8 Simple Steps

A stepping-stone path is a beautiful way to finish any garden or patio area. And as a specialist paving supplier, we’re frequently asked how to lay stepping stones.

While laying the slabs directly on the gravel is a quick and easy option, the stepping stones will typically become loose and start shifting as time goes on. Alternatively, you can take a few more steps to create a path that’s firmer and more durable.

Want to create the perfect stepping-stone path by fixing your paving strongly on a gravel surface? Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to lay stepping stones on gravel.

Tools and materials

First and foremost, there are a number of tools and materials you’ll need to lay stepping stones:

? Trowel ? Stepping stones of your choice ? Gravel

1. Layout the stepping-stones one stride apart

The first step is to decide on the direction of your path and loosely lay out the stones on the ground. To keep an equal space between stones, you can measure the distance with a tape measure. However, an equal stride from the centre of one slab to the next will usually do the trick.

As the whole point of this path is to allow you to walk from one place to another, it may even be better using one stride, rather than an arbitrary distance. But remember that other people, such as children or elderly relatives, may be using these stepping stones. If this is the case, it’s better to place the slabs a bit closer together.

2. Remove gravel from the area of your first slab

Ready to go?

Fix String Line Pins To The Side Of The Two Laid Slabs

Once you have laid your two end stepping-stones, you then need to fix a taut string line between the two slabs. This is to allow you to set the remaining slabs in place in a straight line. If you prefer, You don’t have to use a string line.You could just eye them through, use a straight piece of wood or just lay them randomly.

Here we have used a metal line pin. Hammered into the ground. You could use timber, a large stone or anything you think would be suitable to hold your string tight.

You need to make sure your pin is fixed firmly in place. You don’t want the pin to move during the laying of your stepping stones.

We then adjust the string ensuring the string is in line & level with the two laid slabs.

Secure The Concrete Pavers In Place And Fill The Gaps

Once you have finished each section and the pavers have all been laid, make sure none of the paver stones wobble. You’ll want to check this before filling the joints.

I had about five that had some wobble and just about every time, the culprit was a raised bit of larger gravel that had been pulled near the surface. The concrete paver stone was resting awkwardly on the raised gravel.

The way to fix this is to gently remove the paver and check for the larger gravel that is raised. Remove it and fill in the hole with sand. Carefully place the paver back down into position. 

If you don’t see any gravel, then something in that spot isn’t level. It could be that there’s a bit of a bump, or just one edge needs a little more sand. Use the float to level it and place the paver back into place.

With all the pavers set as you need them, you can start filling in the gaps. Use the square nosed shovel to scoop the sand or paver dust and place it into the joints, but only add about ½- ¾” of the paver dust/sand. 

Try to distribute it evenly between them. You can use a hand spade and/or a broom to help with this.

Now finish filling in the gaps with your decorative top layer. I used marble chips.

Spread these evenly throughout, but be sure to leave them recessed about ¼” from the top so you don’t end up with a big mess of overflowing joint filler.

Those are all the steps! Now you’ll be ready to entertain on your new concrete paver patio!

Level The Top Layer Of The Concrete Paver Patio Base

Use the square nose shovel to scoop the paver dust and spread it onto the base layer. Do this in a sifting type of motion to get it even. 

Don’t tamp the sand before laying the pavers. The screeding will basically have already compacted the sand for you.

I recommend only screeding one section at a time, for two reasons. One is that if it rains before you have placed your pavers, you will need to add more sand and relevel with the screed. 

The other is that since you can walk on the pavers as you place them, it will be much easier to get around the patio. You’ll be forced to work outside the patio the whole time if you level the entire space at once. You’ll also benefit by getting a second set of hands for this.

To screed the sand for leveling, start at one end and place the screed on top of the pipes. 

Hold the screed tight to the pipes and push it across the pipes. Keep the pressure even as you move along. 

You may need to slide the screed back and forth to help even the sand out.

If you get to the end and you meet a wall, like the foundation of your house, use a mason float to scoop out the additional sand. 

You can also use the float if there are any spots that you accidentally pulled a piece of gravel through and it made a divot, or your hand hit.

Making A Stepping Stone From A Plastic Nursery Flat

My crafty friend, Cheryl, and I have been at it again! We had a brainstorm!  This stepping stone can be made in a snap using Ready-mix concrete and a plastic flat used by nurseries to hold ground covers. You can even reuse the mold to make more than one!

How many of us have a stash of these plastic flats with the built in pattern?


  • A ground cover nursery flat
  • A dry cleaning bag
  • A large leaf or leaves with thick veins
  • Old or disposable gloves
  • Large galvanized pan or plastic tub


  • Lay down a tarp over your work surface. Lay your leaf or leaves upside down in a design onto the bottom of the flat.
  • Cover the plastic flat and the decorations with one thin layer of the dry cleaning bag. This makes it easy to unmold. Leave the edges wide enough to fold up over the project.
  • Mix your concrete in the tub with enough water to make the consistency like thick brownie batter. Spread or pack carefully into the mold, patting it down with gloved hands.
  • Fold the plastic over the entire project and tuck underneath to hold in the moisture and not blow in the wind.
  • Unmold after a day or two, discard leaves and let it sit in its plastic for about a week to cure. Prepare a flat place on firm dirt or sand to place your stepping stone
  • Repeat!
  • I placed this one at an intersection in the path that gets a lot of traffic

    Note: For added strength, you can spread half the cement mix in then lay down old metal coat hangers or a square of chicken wire.

    What Should The Distance Between Stepping Stones Be

    How to Make a Homemade Stepping Stone Patio

    One of the first things to consider before installing the stones for a stepping path is the distance between the stones. You need to find the distance that is natural for you as you navigate from one step to the other. To determine this distance, walk naturally and measure the distance between the middle of one foot to the other. This is the distance you should have between each stepping stone.

    Lay The Remaining Slabs Level With The String Line

    When you are confident the string is tight Lay the remaining stepping-stones level with the string line. Follow the laying method for each slab as shown above.

    You can use a spirit level or straight-edged timber to make sure the slabs are all level with each other. It does not really matter if the slabs are laid completely level. This is because it is unlikely that the ground will be completely level. Often the stepping stones will be laid on a slightly sloping surface.

    This is why we lay the two end slabs first then fix a string line between them.This way the slabs end up level between the two end slabs.

    A Challenging Project Thats Well Worth The Effort

    If you’re already familiar with what it takes to install a paver pathway then you should be able to use that knowledge when installing a patio as well, provided you’re using the same technique. The project would be challenging but also rewarding. You can check out thediyvillage if you’re curious to see how everything progresses and how the new pathway starts to take shape, little by little.

    Using large paver bricks can be a practical decision as it means you’ll probably be able to install all of them quicker and that you’ll have an easier time creating a flat surface. Of course, that will influence the design and the structure of your new paver patio so be sure to take all the details into account before you make a purchase. Keep in mind that every DIY project is different. For example, the project featured on jhalvorson had to take into account the lack of grass in the shady areas of the patio and that meant a whole lot of mulch was needed.

    Create Patio Pavers Using A Mold And Concrete Mix

    Have you ever seen paver patios or garden paths that look like perfectly matching puzzle pieces? It’s no coincidence that the pieces complement each other so well. The pavers or flagstones have either been chosen very carefully or they’ve been created to fit a particular pattern right from the start. Some patio pavers and stepping stones are actually quite deceiving in this sense as they’re actually created using a mold and concrete mix. Curious how that works? Check out this mold from luxberra.

    Take Some Time To Decide Which Pattern You Prefer

    You should also take some time to decide which pattern you prefer before you actually start to install your paver patio. Two of time simplest ones are jack-on-jack and running bond, as mentioned in this video that you can find on youtube. More advanced patterns include the herringbone and pinwheel and if you want something extra special and eye-catching you can also consider using stamped pavers that look like stone.

    Plan Out The Order In Which Youll Lay The Pavers

    Once you have the 4” of base layer, double check that you have a little more than 1½” from the top of that to the top of the marked paver line. 

    Take the two black pipes and lie them on top. Set them just in the base layer enough that they don’t roll, but not so much that they are recessed. You can add a little paver dust to help lodge them into place. 

    Use a level to double check the slope angle that you set up based on your string lines. 

    Before putting down the concrete pavers, plan how you are going to place the paver stones. Typically you want to start from an outside edge or corner. 

    Be sure not to box yourself in because you can’t walk on the paver dust one you’ve screeded it.

    Use A Sledge Hammer To Remove Old Concrete Slabs

    Before you get to plan and install your new and beautiful paver patio you might have to remove some concrete slabs first in order to make room and to be able to prepare the foundation for the new structure. The best way to remove old concrete slabs is, from our experience, with a sedge hammer. It’s lighter than a jackhammer and a lot easier to operate as well. It’s also very effective if you’re dealing with a standard patio.

    Preparing The Site Is The First Step To Success

    A lot of patio projects start out with nothing but an empty piece of land, usually with some less than beautiful grass growing on it. Preparing the site is the first step. It’s a very important process that ensures a good foundation on which to build the paver patio of your dreams. This applies to other similar types of landscaping projects as well. to get rid of the weeds, if any, you can use a combination of landscaping fabric, sand, and small rocks or gravel. You can also spray a combination of vinegar and hot water on the more stubborn ones if need be. Check out more useful tips about DIY paver patio covers and other projects on hometalk.

    Manufactured Concrete Cobbles That Come In Mats

    Building a Paver Patio

    Paver patios are definitely practical but laying each paver by hand, one by one gets really annoying quickly. You can make things easier by opting for the more time-saving and practical alternative: manufactured concrete cobbles that come in the form of mats, very much like mosaic backsplash tiles. They’re super easy to install. Once you’ve arranged all the mats and filled all the gaps, you just pour grout over everything and you spread it evenly. You’ll probably need a few more details so be sure to check out thisoldhouse.

    Create Stunning Patterns With Pavers And Grass

    While many of the projects featured here focus on the paver patio, we love these pretty patterns created by Stonewood Products. They share some excellent tips for building a paver patio, and they encourage you to consider the design and location of your paver patio before starting the process. Places you could place a patio or walkway include a path leading across your garden, a patio near a pool, or an outdoor kitchen. Wherever you place your new patio, you’ll find it’s the perfect spot to enjoy spending time this summer. We always recommend keeping your construction work away from large trees with deep roots or any underground utilities you may have in your garden. The planning of this project is half of the fun, and you’ll enjoy considering different colors and designs for your new patio before getting started.

    Make Your Own Stepping Stones In 4 Easy Steps

    Using the materials below you can make your own unique stepping stone that’s more like a piece of garden art to spruce up your patio or path. Create a unique tabletop to set your drink on as you relax on the patio or one-of-a-kind steppers that make getting around the garden easier and more elegant.

    Tools & materials

    How To Prepare A Path To Lay Stepping Stones:

  • Begin by marking out the intended route of your stepping stones. You want to install the pegs at regular intervals along the designated path line.
  • Before you start digging, check your stepping stones against the width of your trench by placing them in their proposed positions. Ensure that there’s enough space between the stones and edge of the trench.
  • Then, put the stepping stones to one side and start digging out a trench within the area marked by wooden pegs. This trench should be 20mm deeper than the thickness of your stepping stones.
  • Finish your path preparations by tamping down the soil surface of the trench, checking that it’s even with a spirit-level. Now you’re ready to lay your stepping stones!
  • A Curved Paver Patio For A More Organic Shape

    If you want your patio to look natural and to have a more organic shape, it would be nice to make it curve and give it a less geometric shape. That of course presents a challenge on its own and means you’ll need to add a border around your patio. Check out this youtube tutorial to learn how to prep the area and make your patio look amazing with curves and a border.

    Step 4: Cure And Clean Up The Stepping Stone

    When the concrete has cured, or hardened, gently take it out of the box and pull out the leaves. Curing time can vary depending on the weather — ours took a couple of days. If a leaf sticks, you can scrub it out with a toothbrush or stiff bristled brush, otherwise you can let it wear away with time. Now your DIY stepping stone is ready to be placed out in the garden to enjoy! They also make great gifts for garden friends.

    You Might Also Like:

    How To Make A Homemade Stepping Stone Patio

    Our homemade stepping stone patio is 10 feet by 30 feet. We built it in 10-foot sections. It took us almost a year to build the entire thing. We made 507 homemade stepping stones. It was a labor of love and it is wonderful. There are few things as beautiful as this patio, to my eyes. It’s artistic and creative and was as much fun to make as it is to use.

    The Character Of The Stone Makes This Patio

    Stone Options:

    Stone varies greatly in color and texture. Visit a number of stone suppliers to see what’s available in your area and to check prices. We chose 3- or 4-in. thick stone intended for building walls, but any relatively flat stone that’s 2 to 4 in. thick will work. Because stone is sold by the ton , a thinner stone like flagstone would have been more economical, but it wasn’t available in the tumbled finish we wanted. If you use thinner stone, don’t tamp it with the compactor. It will crack. The stone dealer will tell you approximately how many square feet a ton of each type of stone covers. Order at least 15 percent extra to allow more selection when you’re looking for just the right shape.

    Clay Pavers:

    Concrete pavers are the most economical choice for paving patios. They are available in many sizes and colors. Traditional clay pavers have truer brick color and cost a bit more. Concrete pavers are available at home centers and landscape retailers, but you’ll probably have to find a brickyard to buy clay pavers. You’ll need about 4-1/2 bricks for every square foot, assuming an average sized 4 x 8-in. brick. It’s difficult to figure the exact amount of brick needed for an irregularly shaped patio like this, so order about 15 percent extra.

    How To Make Stepping Stones With Quickrete

    Building the Paver Patio

    You need molds, quickrete concrete mix, and decorations. I suggest you get a lot of molds if you are going to make a big patio because dividing up a big heavy bag of concrete is not super easy. A large 80-pound bag of quickrete will make 26 of these little 11 inch stones. If you do the 11-inch ones as we did, you need 13 rows of 13 to make one 10 foot by 10-foot pad.

    The price for making a homemade stepping stone, although it’s a LOT of manual labor, is far less expensive than buying them. When we made this, it cost us less than 20 cents per stone to make them. That’s a substantial savings.

    Snap A Base Line And 2 Perpendicular Lines

    Snapping chalk lines directly in the sand is the best way to keep your bricks running straight. For the running bond pattern, you’ll only need a baseline and two lines perpendicular to the baseline, offset by half the width of a brick. Mark the rough center and snap a line at right angles using this method:

  • Measure out an equal distance from the center and make two more marks .
  • Cross two tapes at the same measurement .
  • Snap a chalk line from point “D” through point “A.”
  • Then snap a second line half the width of a brick from the first line.
  • Check Your Measurements Between Laid Slabs

    Once the slab has been placed upon the mortar, we use the measurements taken when you first laid the slabs out loosely. Gently move the slab into position using the tape measure. Try not to push down too hard on the mortar bed below.

    You can use a spirit level or straight-edged timber to square up the slab to give you a correct measurement.

    You don’t have to be too precise with your measurements between the slabs just yet. We are going to be leveling up the slab by hitting it with a hammer so it will need the measurements checking again afterwards.

    How To Make A Patio Using Stepping Stones


    15 May, 2010

    Stepping stones, commonly used to create a path through your garden, can also be used to make a patio. This project requires two main decisions — size and shape of the patio, and the type of stones. In addition, you also need to decide on the material to use to fill in the gaps between the stones. Common fill options include fine-crushed stone, paver sand, pea gravel and moss. This project can take several days depending on the design of your patio. For example, installing a rectangular patio with square or rectangle stones cuts down on the time required to fit the stones, while an odd-shaped patio with irregular stones requires more time to shape and fit the stones together for the desired look.

    Measure Slope To Allow For Patio Drainage

    So that your concrete paver patio drains away from your house, you’ll need to account for the slope of the space.

    If your patio is on a hill or against a retaining wall, for instance, you will slope in two directions: away from the house and also away from the wall or the hill.

    The angle of slope that allows for proper drainage for your patio is 1” per every 4 feet. For instance, my patio was 9’ deep, so I created a slope of 2¼”.

    The way to mark the slope is to start at stakes that will be your low end. Take the strings you’ve tied onto those stakes and lower them by the number of inches required to meet the correct slope for your patio base on its depth. 

    Next, use a marker to mark a line where you pulled the strings to . 

    The new string locations now mark the height of the 4” base layer with the slope included.

    I also found it helpful to mark the top of where the paver will be. It’s important to note that depending on what your top base layer is made of, it may not actually add any height to your total. 

    The paver dust I had compacted down to maybe about ¼”. You may want to test yours to see because if yours doesn’t compact like that, you may want to add it into your calculations.

    If you are using the same pavers I used, these are just over 1½” thick. If your paver dust/sand compacts to almost nothing, you will want to make your last mark 1½” above the base layer mark just made. 

    The Best Concrete To Make Stepping Stones

    Not all concrete is created equal. Some concrete has large chunks of gravel to give it extra strength when creating large slabs, frames, or sidewalks. Unless your pavers are meant to be quite large, it’s best to choose a finer concrete mix that doesn’t contain large gravel pieces. The concrete you want is usually sold as “repair concrete.” This finer textured concrete will give you a smooth look and takes decorative imprints much better.

    Why Use Stepping Stones To Build The Road

    Why is garden paving stone a popular material for building walkways? To answer this question, let’s first look at some of their characteristics:

    • Garden paving stones are very easy to make. If you can mix concrete, then you can make garden paving stones.
    • When you make garden steps, you can exercise creativity, from using stains to assembling puzzles.
    • Thus, you can add a decorative element to your garden by using homemade garden stepping stones. Natural stone offers fewer opportunities for creativity but can be very aesthetically pleasing.
    • Whether laying natural stone or homemade paving stones, the process of building the path is easy, as is maintaining it.

    How To Compact Gravel For Your Patio Base

    Use a plate compactor to compact the gravel, creating a firm and long-lasting base for the patio.

    Lay the Base

    Watch video of this step.

    Once the patio layout is done, you’re ready to excavate the area. Dig deep enough to allow for the base material under the pavers.

    Pavers vary in thickness. The rule of thumb is to dig to the thickness of the paver, plus another six inches for a solid base.

    Our pavers are 2-1/2″ thick and we want them to be level with the ground. We need six inches of base material plus 2-1/2″ for the paver height, so we are digging 8-½” deep.

    It’s a good idea to create a slight slope away from the house to encourage water runoff — a 3″ slope over a 12′ patio should be fine.

    Now it’s time to add the base material. First, fill the excavation with compactable gravel, to a depth of five inches, tamping it down as you go. Rake the top surface smooth and level with a steel rake . To check for high and low points and to make sure your area is level, place a long, straight 2×4 on edge across the area then place three-foot level on the 2×4, adjust the gravel as necessary .Use a plate compactor to compact the gravel, which will create a firm and long-lasting base for the patio . You can rent a plate compactor for as little as $50 a day. For best results work the compactor in a circular motion and go over all areas at least twice.


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